Real Crime Blog

Bloodstained Book Club: 'His Bloody Project'

A weekly look at the best new crime, suspense, and detective fiction. Remember to read with the lights on.

His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae
By Graeme Macrae Burnet

Described as a psychological thriller masquerading as true crime, this book consists of the supposedly found documents involving a 1869 murder in a small Scottish town. Supposedly found by the author while researching his roots, the centerpiece of the book is the journal of the poor (but extremely intelligent and possible insane) young man accused of a gory triple-murder, along with witness statements, medical reports, and trial transcripts. The author writes in a meta and sort-of-fictional preface that it’s not possible, this many years later, to know if the events set forth are true, that the riveting manuscript may have been a hoax that divided opinion in its day. The voice is so true that it’s hard sometimes to believe you are reading a work of historical fiction. It must be the author’s creation, though, since this book was a finalist for the prestigious Mann Booker Prize for Fiction.

Buy it here.

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